Fred Wilpon is the principal owner of the New York Mets and he came out a couple of days ago – let me just say this. A) He’s brutally honest B) He’s not inaccurate. He said about David Wright, 3rd baseman of the Mets “he’s a really good kid! Very good player…not a superstar!” well, he’s right! He says about Carlos Beltran “we had some shmuck in New York” for the record, he’s talking about himself “who paid him based on one playoff series! [Astros vs. Cardinals 2007 NLCS] he’s now worth 65-70% of what he was then!” He says of Jose Reyes – if you don’t follow Reyes, he’s an exciting player – enigmatic, but he’s exciting, “he thinks he’s going to get Carlo Crawford money…he’s not going to get it! He’s got everything wrong with him!”
So all this stuff he’s saying? I think he’s bang on! but you know what? New York fans demand free agent signings and then they have buyer’s remorse. Warren Buffet – the investor, always talks about something, he calls it an “inner scoreboard” and a lot of people have an “outer scoreboard” – where they look great and they seem confident, but they don’t have an “inner scoreboard”. Maybe it’s a childhood issue, but they have low self-esteem, and they don’t feel good about themselves. Warren Buffet says during crisis “I have a very good inner scoreboard…I know what I’m doing. I don’t worry about CNBC, I don’t worry about the financial media…I know what I’m doing, I have a very strong inner scoreboard”
The Mets have a lousy inner scoreboard! They have low self-esteem at their core, they are reactionary, they make signings – basically because they have a little brother complex with the Yankees, and that’s no way to run a business. They react to the media, they react to fans…I mean, Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, Jason Bay, Carlos Beltran….were all bad signings! And Met fans demanded all of them. I mean, you go look at Johan Santana, you could argue that was the best signing out of these bad signings. But they not only acquired him for 6 years, they also traded parts AND gave him 6 years. If you go to his last year in Minnesota – he gave up 33 home runs, which was like an 18-25% spike compared to his CY Young year (the year previous), his strikeouts went down and he was a .500 pitcher with a 3.30 ERA.
Now, he was still a really good pitcher – but you don’t give a guy with those numbers the previous year, a 6 year deal! But when your living in the shadow of the Yankees and you have a lousy inner scoreboard and you don’t really have any confidence about yourself…that’s what you do! Carlos Beltran – I remember the day he signed (I’m a die-hard Astros fan…enough said) and I was listening to some baseball analyst, maybe Buster Onley or someone else. They said “he’s a really nice player, he’ll give you 21 home runs and hit .274 and he’s got a good glove…he’s not a $20 million dollar a year guy…in any market! He’s just not!!”
But he had a huge series…and what happens in all these sports is that GM’s are busy with their own team. They don’t sit and watch everybody elses team all year!! Then they watch the NBA playoffs or their respective sports’ playoffs and they go “wow!! that Jeff Greene guy is…okay” GM’s make mistakes too and the Mets just massively overpaid for all of them. But, you go back…Jason Bay is a great example.
Listen, I don’t live, breathe and eat baseball like I use to (still obsessed at slightly unhealthy level, but not as before) but Jason Bay at Citi Field (home of the Mets) which is spacious, he’s a pull hitter – that’s a gap hitting park with tons of room in the outfield. He’s a slumbering outfielder who is a dead pull hitter. The Mets signed him; basically because you were it was getting late. The Yankee’s had signed other great players and there was this sense in Met land “we gotta sign somebody!” and Met fans start complaining and going to radio and going to the papers.
So, as much as everybody wants to bang on Wilpon…the guy is being brutally honest and you gotta get over, running your business…I mean, Pepsi may be to some degree, in the shadow of Coke. But if you really watch how Pepsi runs their business – they’re doing their own thing. When they try to copy…not so great.